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Free sunscreen, ear plugs — and Covid shots? At the NASCAR race, vaccinations are still a tough sell

AVONDALE, Ariz. — Under the bright lights of the Phoenix Raceway, as 100,000 people gathered to watch NASCAR drivers hurtle toward this year’s championship, a small battalion of nurses and trainees took on an even more daunting challenge: convincing attendees to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

At three tents, dotted around the sprawling raceway complex and a nearby campground, about a dozen nurses, paramedics, and student nurses handed out free sunscreen, hand sanitizer, and ear plugs — all the NASCAR essentials — while exhorting visitors to tack on a Covid vaccination. Armed with smiles and fliers about the updated booster, they approached attendees gently, stressing the convenience: The tent is right there, no wait, it’ll be over in a minute.

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